By Wil Crews
The Opelika Dawg Pound is gearing up for a new season. With the final session of tryouts wrapping up on Sunday, rosters are taking shape.
“We are all ready to go,” said Founder of the Dawg Pound Anthony Bryant. “We were so happy to get back on the field the other day.”
Bryant is taking a step back from coaching this year to focus more on his non-profit, the Knee High Foundation, which supports the Opelika Dawg Pound. However, his coaching staff is eager to get the ball rolling.
Coaching the 12U team this year is Trey Hughley, aka Big Dawg. Coaching the 10U team is Terez Thomas, aka Pooh Bear. The 8U coach is Dontavis Willis, aka Raw Dilly. And the 6U team is coached by Christian Torbert, aka Bugg.
“The turnout had been tremendous,” Bryant said. “Our six-year-old and our eight-year-old teams are going to be pretty strong; this 10U team is going to be really special this year.”
The Dawg Pound also added two females to its squad this season, making three girls in total, which is a first in the area according to Bryant.
After going through a season of challenges last year, Bryant said he and his coaches are prepared for whatever comes at them this time around.
“The biggest thing we learned from last year was just to persevere,” Bryant said. “This year we have a better outlook because we know how to handle the situation better, know how to travel with it, know how to keep the kids safe.”
In that spirit, the Dawg Pound is already making big plans for this spring and beyond.
To start, cheerleading tryouts for girls age five to 12 are fast upcoming on March 27. The tryouts are being held at 11 a.m. at Bandy Park. All girls need to attend are tennis shoes, masks and a water source, according to the Dawg Pound’s flyer on Facebook. Parents can contact Alyssa Foreman (334-750-4319) for more information or visit the Facebook page ‘Opelika DawgPound Cheer.’
After that, a kick-off cookout event for players and family with food from chef Jeremy Vines, owner of Obsidian Dining & Catering, is planned.
Then, for the first time ever, the Dawg Pound will be participating in 7 v 7 football, with the 10U, 12U and 13U groups travelling to Atlanta on April 3.
In accordance with the Knee High Foundation, the Dawg Pound just had its first Krispy Kreme donut fundraiser last weekend, and has also planned community service projects for May.
Furthermore, the Dawg Pound recently got permission from the Opelika Parks and Rec department to host their first ever tournament, ‘The DawgPound Summer Bowl,’ for players age five to 12, hopefully in July. Additionally, an offensive lineman camp, STUD University, with NFL alum Michael Moon-Thompson is in the works too.
You can keep up with all the Dawg Pound events by visiting their Facebook page ‘Opelika Dawg Pound.’
Ultimately, Bryant knows none of this would be possible without the community’s support. His goal of having 50 sponsors for the Dawg Pound this season has nearly been reached already.
“The community support has been great,” Bryant said. “If you could just continue to support, it’s all for a good reason. If we can do anything for any other people that need help or non-profits that needs help, just reach out to us and we will be more than willing to look at the situation and help if we can.”
To learn more about The Knee High Foundation and the Opelika Dawg Pound, visit www.thekneehighfoundation.org/.